Showing posts from September, 2009

Charlotte Hough

Charlotte Hough didn't illustrate many pony books, but she did do one cover of which I'm particularly fond: Margaret Stanley Wrench's The Rival Riding Schools. I love the impression you get of vivid life you get: I feel that I'm looking in on an intense bit of childhood secrecy, and I like the shaggy pony, standing there patiently while the humans get on with being odd. When I began to research Charlotte Hough, I turned up more than I'd bargained for. Until I read The Times’ Obituary , I had no idea that Charlotte Hough was the mother of the author Deborah Moggach, or that she had been involved in a celebrated case when she was accused of murder. Helen Charlotte Hough (pronounced How) was born in Hampshire on May 24, 1924, and died on December 31, 2008. Her father, a doctor, was 50 when she was born. Her mother was much younger, and she had a rather dislocated childhood, as her father refused to contribute to her upbringing. She was educated at Frensham Heights,

It wasn't like this when I was at school

Took daughter and friend out for a quick pizza after school. Sitting there looking at them, both 13 years old, with full make up on, I asked them if there was much of a queue for the loos to re-touch the paint. Oh yes, they said. There is, apparently, an informal system, where whole years go in at a time. Year 11, queens of the school as the sixth form presumably make up elsewhere, get first dibs at 12.15. Daughter, who is year 9 (12.30 is their appointed time at the mirrors) said she was in there leaning on the wall waiting for a friend, as the year 11s were there, leaning at the mirrors, re-touching, when a year 9 came in, and wiggled her way through to the mirrors to start wielding the mascara. As one, the year 11s stopped talking, and turned and looked at the year 9, who scuttled off. Once she'd gone, conversation, and re-touching, restarted. Good grief. I can remember passing an older girl on the stairs in my time at school, pinned in to the corner by Miss Hansford th

Morning walk

It's months since I took the camera out on the dogwalk, having been tramping round, buried in my own thoughts. I'm amazed at how much I've missed - though even I can't remain oblivious to the ploughing and harrowing, now thankfully over. Do not at all like traipsing over miles of plough, trying to aim for where I think the footpath might be. The rest of the village has the same problem: for the first few yards there's a solid path, but then it disintegrates into vague, half trodden meanderings as we have no fixed point to aim at. Now, thankfully, the farmer has put back the path (amazing what a quick sweep with the tractor will do). Another thing I managed not to miss was the sloes: I have some now lurking in the freezer, though goodness knows if my plans for them will actually happen. I have a tendency to mentally tick things off once they're in the freezer, meaning I have several boxes of very, very old fruit in there. The hedges have been fla


Which we actually visited weeks ago, but still.. The Eden Project: good, but not the staggering and awesome experience I thought it would be. They are excellent at crowd management, and have put a lot of thought into getting a large amount of people round without driving them insane, but I found the biodomes strangely disappointing. Interesting, certainly. Not entirely sure, thinking about it, exactly what I did expect. I liked the sculptures, though this one is the stuff of nightmares: Lanh ydrock, where the fire alarm went off as we were heading for the attics. Went after daughter to get her to come back and get out, but as I had loud conversation with her up the stairs about the fact it was a fire alarm and that meant get out, people trudged on by, intent on continuing their tour. Were they acting with British reserve and pretending the fire alarm and I were not there? Or just in a world of their own? Or were they waiting for me to tell them to get out too? Bosc


wear open toed sandals and purple nail varnish when you're doing the hens. They think your toes are blackberries.